For some, admitting you're a Christian is tough. I've never had that problem. I used to be a self-absorbed binge drinker with obsessive tendencies, and thanks to the Lord, I'm now a people-loving Jesus freak. However what the secular crowd doesn't always realize about Christians is that we're still human, and we have weaknesses that can still surface under certain arduous circumstances. All very first-world problems of course, but here goes:
The Work Meltdown
Nothing tests the temper quite as much as oh, say getting a nasty email from a client throwing an adult temper tantrum and cc'ing your boss, your colleagues and everyone else but your cousin in Philly. I'm sorry but all the Pilates breathing and "don't let the sun go down on your anger" mantras in the world cannot always contain the outbursts of anger that ensue during such plights. You feel the pressure building, but try to remain calm while your colleagues place bets to see if the church chick cracks. Unfortunately before 1 John 3:27 reigns over your tongue you're jetting over to a friend's cube, ranting about the level of ungratefulness it takes to send such a digital attack. The phrase "arrogant parasite" might have been repeated. Then after you've regained sanity, there's the guilt and worry you've ruined your testimony, and led your co-workers astray. Hmmm. "Have I told you guys about Jesus getting mad in the temple once?"
Some say unbelieving friends, the internet or worldliness will compromise your Christian virtues. I say it's a long commute across two interstates. Oh Lord forgive me, for I have wished things upon drivers across Central Connecticut no Christian should admit. "What is this retar-sorry Lord." There's nothing like sailing through the fast lane, K-love radio worship blaring, and then screaming at some blinker-impaired idiot nearly skimming your bumper. "Holy, Holy Holy, is the -Are you freaking kidding me dude?!" Even worse is trying to control such rage with the kids in the back seat: "Mommy why did you honk your horn so much at that car?" "I'm sorry guys, but God made horns to honk."
The Customer Service Curse
There is a cable man God has placed in my path to exorcise the temper right out of me. Really, it can be the only explanation for how much Cox Communications and other customer service professionals have refined my ability to shut my mouth. Clearly, these people are in the wrong industry. From dealing with the rudest Dunkin' Donuts girl known to man, to the grocery store cashier who literally leers at my slightly rowdy children, I have had bit, tied and tamed this tongue with the Lord's strength. One of our town librarians is meaner than a rattlesnake and audibly groans when asked a question. She's in reference. I have a friend who prays for people every time she's offended by rudeness. I'm not quite there yet. Maybe it's because us Gen Xer's were taught to smile, work hard and be kind to customers, no matter what. "The customer is always right!" This work ethic seems to be as dead as dinosaurs, seen recently with a Target cashier rolling her eyes after scanning multiple snack boxes opened by my children. "Do you know this is open, ma'am?" (Insert judgmental tone). Many retorts tried to escape my mouth at that moment, but with great victory I replied, "Yes, yes I do!" Extra points for smiling, Lord.
I don't care if you have the temperament of Jesus and the IQ of Bill Gates, you will lose your senses at least once in defense of your kids. There is almost no situation more difficult that clashing with another parent, teacher or even another kid when feeling overprotective of your own. Nothing boils the blood like some playground bully nudging your two-year old aside, or overhearing a snarky remark about your kid's glasses. Alright freckles, put the juice box aside, you're goin' down. I'll never forget finally mustering up the strength to leave my baby in the church nursery with "strangers." After waging death threats against an elderly worker to make sure I was paged me if he cried more than two minutes, I did well in my pew. For five minutes. Then the hormones kicked in, and unlike all the other God-fearing souls trusting the Lord, I decided to spy on all fours to make sure my no-cry rule was properly upheld. I know what these gals are up to. Sure enough my CIA instincts were correct, and I burst in the room, commandeering my wailing child and chastising grandma for ignoring my will. She was gracious, but they made me sign up for nursery duty the next week.
Clearly, God gave us marriage to make us better people. And we should be grateful. This the person whom God gave you. This man would die for you if there was an intruder and he can change your oil in 30 minutes flat. However it took less than a month of marriage for me to come close to losing my salvation. Oh, the offenses. Oh, the battles of the will. Some people have seemingly drama-free marriages. We're not one of them. I've said things so awful in a fit of rage that spurred me to quickly re-read the parts where God keeps no record of wrongs. Phew. I think marriage and motherhood are God's ways of making sure we're not kidding ourselves about our spiritual maturity. We can believe we're every fruit of the spirit on the tree of life until the pressures and complexities of family life demand we exercise gentleness and self-control on an hourly bases. Got love and peace down. Six to go.